Intimate Conversation with Colette R. Haywood
Allow me to introduce you to our Business spotlight of the month. Star Struck Foundation (Star Struck) is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of youth at risk of not "making it" in Gwinnett County. Gwinnett is the 9th fastest growing county in the nation and has at least quadrupled in the number of African-American and Hispanic people in the last 10 years. This diversity forces higher costs on human services and public education that the county is unable to meet.
Star Struck Foundation was formed in an effort to address the county's failure to provide quality affordable programming for youth. In 2005, Star Struck trained its first class of 11 volunteers. Since that time, Star Struck volunteers have provided comprehensive mentorship and advocacy services to over 200 high risk youth and proudly boast a 98% success rate in helping students turn their lives around.
In FY 2007-2008, Star Struck volunteers served over 190 client children and provided approximately 1,000 logged hours of comprehensive mentorship and programming to address the emotional, physical, and educational needs of youth. We are the only organization in Gwinnett County providing free programming to disadvantaged youth and their families.
For a more intimate look at our spotlight business, the Star Struck Foundation, we will be chatting with Colette R. Haywood, Assistant Director. Join me in saluting this fabulous company.
EDC: Did your company change the way consumers were previously taught to think?
"It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success nor more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who would gain by the new one." - Nicolo Machiavelli.
Colette: My organization, Star Struck Foundation deals with high risk youth, our primary goal is to teach our youth how to change their behavior from negative to positive. The youth are our clients. People may think of them as problem kids...but they aren't. Star Struck research shows that the majority of the youth that we work with want help, they just don't know or trust enough to ask for it.
EDC: What got you started in this business/industry?
Colette: My mother was a social worker and I grew up going to work with her. She used to work in the ombudsman's office in Flint Michigan. From there, she began working at a community based organization. I still remember the name..."Heart in the City." She is one of those people who doesn't think twice about going the extra mile for someone else. My father recognized my love of reading. He had me reading Edgar Allen Poe in the 4th grade. That was the same year that Mildred D. Taylor came to speak at the Sarvis Food Center. It was like a light went off in my head...oh black women can be writers. I decided then that I wanted be writer. Now it seems that the two things just go together, writing and helping people.
EDC: What separates you and your firm from the competition?
Colette: What separates me personally from the competition is the fact that I am not afraid of hard work and I don't like to fail at anything. Research is my friend, I have a strong desire to learn. Star Struck is different from the competition in that the curriculum that we use is exclusive. It was developed by Larry Veal, a gentleman who has over 10 years of experience working with high risk youth. He used to be a troubled teen, so he understands where they are coming from. Star Struck works to couple Larry's behavior modification program with mentoring, and academic remediation activities for students and parents. Star Struck doesn't just treat the youth, we treat the entire family. Star Struck is the only organization in our local community offering these free services to our clients.
EDC: What one thing would you do if you knew you could not fail?
Colette: I am doing it, raising my kids to be good citizens and have a deep and abiding love of GOD.
Colette please finish this sentence: I am Powerful because...
Colette: I am powerful because I choose to be. I am made in the image and likeness of God, I have no other choice.
EDC: What is your biggest challenge in business?
Colette: My biggest challenge in getting people in d to "buy in" to what Star Struck programs. Any business is only as strong as the weakest link. I tend to be a person who focuses on solutions not problems. 6. What advice would you give someone just starting out in your business? I would tell anyone that is starting out in business that they need to have a fundamental understanding of what it is they do, what the competition does, and what the marketplace demands. 7. What do you enjoy most about your profession? Knowing that all of my hard work is helping someone change their life from negative to positive.
For more information about Star Struck Foundation and our wonderful programs please visit our home online, http://www.starstruckfoundation.org/
Colette R. Haywood
Star Struck Foundation
4000 Five Forks Trickum
Lilburn, GA 30047
Colette, I want to thank you for joining us today and giving us the gift of action, community action. We all need to reach out to our youth and empower them!
Ella Curry, president of EDC Creations